Chelsey White gets to ‘Gram her cake and have it, too.
The 26-year-old Instagram celebrity has monetized her baking hobby to the point where she doesn’t even have to accept cake orders; she just has to bake one, film it, and share the video (sliced down and sped up into a bite-sized post) to her 250,000 followers on the image-based social media platform. Generating hundreds of thousands of views is a cakewalk now.
There are 45 million Instagram posts hashtagged #cake. It’s clear that White isn’t the only hobbyist on the platform, and she’s not the only one without a brick-and-mortar business nor any intent to open one. These cake artisans compete with pro pastry chefs for views, but their focus isn’t on driving traffic.
Their currency is views. They’re looking at online ordering, video content partnerships (such as White’s with the Food Network and AwesomenessTV), and social media personality-driven workshops. If they happen to fall into a sponsorship deal, it’s not because there’s a proven recipe for success; that’s just how the cookie crumbles.
Some bakers sell their cakes; others don’t. Some host virtual or IRL workshops for a fee. Others simply barter with brands to receive free products in exchange for featured posts. But one thing many of them have in common is that selling their wares (and in a way, themselves) on social media takes practice.
To truly succeed, they need to understand the strengths and limitations of each platform, tailoring content for Facebook and YouTube as well as Instagram. And they need to understand how to get that content in front of the most eyes. The hashtag code is one that many find difficult to crack.
Still, the cake community is fertile ground for celebrity, and the principles of supply and demand can propel artisans to even greater fame, driving even greater profits no matter which approach they prefer. Some of these bakers are booked solid through September.